Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., a senior research scientist at MIT, has published a new book, “Toxic Legacy: How the Weedkiller Glyphosate Is Destroying Our Health and the Environment” — without doubt the best book ever written about glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and many other toxic herbicides.
In this book, which has been a labor of love for the past decade, Seneff explains how and why glyphosate poses an existential threat to humanity, and why it’s so important to avoid it if you care about your health and the health of your family.
“It's been a decade of learning everything I could about glyphosate,” Seneff says. “When I first heard about it I basically dropped everything else I was doing because I was so confident that I had found the answer to the autism epidemic. That was the thing I was looking for. Back in 2012, I heard a two-hour lecture by Don Huber, and it changed my focus entirely.
I already understood the symptoms of autism, a very complex disease — lots of gut problems and mineral issues — and it all came together with his lecture. Overnight I just started poring over all the papers I could find.
Shortly after that I found Séralini's paper,1 which had not yet been retracted at that time. It was later republished, the paper by Séralini, a French toxicologist who had shown that very low doses of glyphosate over the lifespan of a rat could cause a lot of damage.
He pointed out that after three months, everything looked good, so it's a slow kill. This is one thing I emphasize in my book. Glyphosate is subtle, and that's really a huge problem because people don't [make the connection]. We have diabetes, obesity, autism, Alzheimer's. It's a long, long list, all the gut problems.
The microbes are being very much disturbed by the chronic poisoning with glyphosate, and then the gut becomes a central starting point for many diseases, including neurological diseases and arthritis. So, you see that disruption of the gut, and glyphosate can cause exactly the things that we're seeing.”
Glyphosate Contamination in Common Products
Before delving into glyphosate, Seneff spent five years focusing on the potential toxicities of vaccines. She still believes vaccines can play a role in the chronic diseases we’re seeing, including autism.
However, glyphosate may actually play a more significant role. Seneff believes it contributes to and worsens damage caused by vaccines, in part because it binds very efficiently to aluminum used as an adjuvant in certain vaccines. It likely binds strongly to many other toxic metals as well.
The theory is that, by being wrapped up with glyphosate molecules, the metals can more easily penetrate various barriers in your body. This is because glyphosate causes these barriers, such as your intestinal barrier and your blood-brain-barrier, to become more porous. And, as leaky gut or leaky brain set in, the toxic metals are shuttled across, along with the glyphosate.
Interestingly, Anthony Samsel, a public health research scientist, and Zen Honeycutt, founder and director of Moms Across America, have independently found glyphosate contamination in live virus vaccines that do not contain aluminum adjuvant.
Seneff suspects glyphosate may be a contaminant in many drugs as well, particularly drugs produced by genetically engineering E. coli or yeast. They’ve also found glyphosate in tampons, which may then be absorbed through your uterine lining.
Seneff also hypothesizes that, since glyphosate is found in many vegetable-based fats, such as canola and soybean oil, studies comparing the health effects of fats may be compromised since they never consider the effects of glyphosate. Interestingly, while not fat-soluble, glyphosate can still enter fats (and is found in the vegetable oils just mentioned).
Samsel suspects glyphosate acts as a phosphate analog, because it has a phosphonate unit, and fats have phosphates (phospholipids). This is something he’s investigating right now, so eventually, we may learn more about that mechanism.
Glyphosate and the Rise in Celiac Disease
In her book, Seneff details the dramatic increase in glyphosate use since its introduction in the mid-‘70s. Estimates suggest that one pound of glyphosate is applied in the U.S. every year for every man, woman and child, in America, which is an astounding amount. It’s not even enough to buy non-GMO products, as many non-GMO items have been shown to have some of the highest levels of glyphosate.
Oats, wheat, barley and legumes like chickpeas and lentils tend to be very high in glyphosate because these crops are sprayed with glyphosate right before harvest as a desiccant to speed the drying process.
“I think that's the reason for the epidemic in celiac disease,” Seneff says. “Samsel and I wrote a paper on that. We showed there's a strong correlation between the rise in celiac disease over time and the rise in glyphosate usage on wheat, specifically on wheat. It matches much better to wheat than it does to the other crops, which makes sense, because wheat is the source of celiac disease.”
A case study of an American woman who tried to commit suicide by drinking glyphosate reveal some of the chemical’s effects. She developed a paralyzed gut, and this may well be what’s happening to many, on a low-grade scale. In essence, people’s guts are sort of semi-paralyzed by the glyphosate in the diet, which causes small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
Bacteria starts festering in the upper intestine because the peristalsis is not working properly, so food remnants get stuck. Glyphosate has also been shown to accumulate in the brain, and animal studies show it causes neuro excitotoxicity due to excess glutamate in the brain. This, in turn, “is absolutely connected to autism,” Seneff says.
In her book, Seneff also discusses the importance of sulfur for optimal health, how sulfate deficiency is connected to autism, and how glyphosate can cause sulfate deficiency.